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Political Corruption of the IPCC Report? 

Changes in the Final Text of the "Summary for Policy Makers" 
of the Fourth Assessment Report, WG1: The Physical Science Basis. 


Prior to publication, the final version of the Summary for Policy Makers was consensually 
agreed line by line by governmental agents. Applying the tools of "Redactionsgeschichte", 
the substantive editorial changes established in this process throw light on the directions in 
which political and economic interests have influenced the presented scientific material. 
Attention has been paid specifically to those alterations that change the emphasis or meaning 
of the text, while minor re-ordering, textual transposition and polish for meaning and clarity, 
have been ignored. Links are then made between the direction of governmental editorial bias 
and the lacunae or omissions in the content as a whole. The study concludes with an 
exploration of the "primary task" of the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change. 

1. Rate of change in radiative forcing 

The draft states in bold text that: 'The sustained rate of increase in radiative forcing over 
the past century.... is unprecedented in at least the last 20,000 years". The Figure SPM- 1 
in the draft included this graph of the rate of change in radiative forcing. 


1 — 

















■ l 

1 i 1 


-6000 -4000 



Year AD 

The final version displaces reference to the rate of increase in radiative forcing, removes its 
emboldening, widens the time reference of the effect, halves the historic comparison, and 
inserts a qualification of "very likely" in place of the unqualified statement of the draft. The 
final version reads: "The combined radiative forcing... and its rate of increase during the 
industrial era is very likely to have been unprecedented in more than 10,000 years". Tne 
illustrative graph is also removed from figure SPM- 1 . The result is a damping of information 


about acceleration of climate change. If retained, the material would have alerted systems 
analysts to the existence of second order change and the radical disturbance of system 
equilibrium, typical of the onset of a "chaos point" in complex system behaviour. 

2. Water vapour feedback 

In the draft section dealing with "Changes in Human and Natural Drivers of Climate" the 
accelerating effect of increasing concentration of atmospheric water vapour is noted: 

"Water vapour increases lead to a strong positive feedback that amplifies the global 
mean temperature response to increases in radiative forcing. New observational and 
modelling evidence confirms the importance of the expected feedbacks linked to 
water vapour, estimated to be approximately 1 W m per °C of global average 
temperature increase, or a 40-50% amplification of global mean warming." 

The paragraph has been completely deleted from the final version A brief and weakened 
acknowledgement of the issue has, however, been inserted in the final version towards the 
end of the section on Understanding and Attributing Climate Change: "Water vapour 
changes represent the largest feedback affecting climate sensitivity..." 

The temperature- sensitive power of this amplifying (positive) feedback has a real-time effect 
on radiative forcing which is cumulative and proportional to rise in average global 
temperature. Note that the water- vapour feedback amplifies the effect of all other 
temperature- dependent feedbacks leading to second -order climate change. It is very likely to 
be the driver of currently observed phenomena summarised by the Chief Scientist at one of 
the NASA centres: "Warming is accelerating GREATLY, especially 'Recently'." 

It is interesting to note (see ) that water vapour is 
described in the NO A A paper "Radiative Forcing of Climate by non-C02 Atmospheric 
Gases" as "The most important greenhouse gas in the Earth's Atmosphere", which is 
"considered as a feedback in the climate system related to the human activities on other 
greenhouse gases ..." 

The modification, in the final version, of the strong positive feedback effects of water vapour 
is consistent with the governmental suppression of evidence of non-linear behaviour in the 
climate system. There is no reference to water vapour in the table of Radiative Forcing 
Components (SPM-2) 

3. Confirmation of Global Warming 

In the section dealing with "Direct Observations of Changes in Current Climate", the wording 
of the draft text: "Observations... provide stronger joint evidence of warming" has been 
tightened in the final version to read "Warming of the climate system is unequivocal". The 
statement is supported by reference to a series of current observations. Governmental 
consensus in the acceptance of this phrasing represents the ending of the debate about 
whether global warming is actually happening. 

The final version has, however, omitted the draft comment that "In both hemispheres, air 
temperatures over land have risen at about double the rate of those over the ocean since 


4. Missing Implications 

A. Both draft and final versions confirm that the average temperature of the global ocean has 
increased to depths of at least 3000 m., absorbing much of the heat being added to the climate 
system. One of the noted implications is that such warming causes sea- water to expand, 
contributing to sea- level rise. Neither version draws out the implication that mixing of 
warmer water to this depth would lead to the start of a cascade release of sea-bed clathrates, 
the early evidence of which is now confirmed by NASA. Methane release constitutes an 
amplifying feedback in climate change. 

B. Increase in temperatures at the surface of the areas of permafrost, together with decrease 
in the area of seasonally frozen ground are noted in both versions. However, neither text 
draws out the implication for the feedback drivers occasioned by the consequential release of 
methane or out- gassing of carbon- dioxide from the thawing permafrost. Absence of attention 
to the feedback dynamics and their potential acceleration of climate change is consistent 
throughout the report. 

C. Decrease in snow- cover, and in the areas of land- ice (and indeed sea- ice) are affirmed in 
both draft and final versions. The connection to the consequential decrease in albedo is not 
made, so eliding yet another factor in the amplifying feedback system. 

D. Both final text and draft are consistent in their treatment of the meridional overturning 
circulation (MOC). They affirm little observational evidence for degrade in the energy 
transport dynamic and note that no models predict the close-down of the MOC during the 21 st 
Century. They assert that if such an event were to happen in the future its effects would be 
minimal since the effects of global warming would roughly balance the cooling effects of the 
shutdown of the MOC. Several points are in order: 

• Most recent observation (released since the IPCC process closed its uptake of 
published information) indicates a slow-down of some 30% in the northward warm 
current (Gulf Stream) in the North Atlantic. 

• While this is still with limits of natural variation, it coincides with observed decrease 
in the power of the descending gyres (massive vortices) of cold saline water that drive 
the MOC. 

• Increased precipitation in the high latitude North Atlantic is lowering salinity of 
surface water, as are also the increased flow of melt water from the Greenland ice- 
mass, and the decrease in the volume of sea ice formed on an annual basis. 

• These accelerating feedbacks, added to the increase in high latitude air temperature 
(which is at least twice that of tie global average) drive decreasing salinity and 
increasing temperature of the ocean surface water whose normal descent as cold, 
high- saline solution powers the MOC. 

• The comment on the balancing of effects of degrade or shut down of the Gulf Stream 
is totally Eurocentric. The MOC is an energy re- distribution system. Less heat would 
be delivered to the north-western seaboard of Europe, so compensating for the effects 
of global warming which would otherwise be experienced. The heat energy, 
however, would be retained in the tropical and sub -tropical areas of the Atlantic 
Ocean. Increased temperature of ocean surface in these regions would enhance the 
already significant increase in tropical storm intensity. 


5. Non-linearity of ice -sheet dynamics 

The material on ice- sheet dynamics is scattered across three sections in both draft and final 
versions. In the section on Direct Observations of Changes in Current Climate, the draft text 
includes the comment "Recent observations show rapid changes in ice sheet flows". The 
observation is omitted from the final version. 

In the section on Predictions of Future Changes in Climate, the final version notes: "Models 
used to date do not... include the full effects of changes in ice sheet flow, because a basis in 
published literature is lacking". There is a strange inversion here. The draft text appears to 
upgrade the modelled rates in the light of most recent field observations. The final version 
ignores field observation because it is not consistent with modelled results in published 

The final version continues: "The projections include a contribution due to increased ice flow 
from Greenland and Antarctic at the rates observed for 1993-2003, but these flow rates could 
increase or decrease in the future. For example, if this contribution were to grow linearly 
with global average temperature change, the upper ranges of sea level rise for SRES 
scenarios shown in Table SPM-2 would increase by 0.1 m to 0.2 m. Larger values cannot be 
excluded, but understanding of these effects is too limited to assess their likelihood or 
provide a best estimate or an upper bound for sea level rise." 

Observed data available to the IPCC included results from 1993-2006. Such data not only 
provides a figure for average rate of flow, but also indicates the second derivative, namely the 
rate of change in rate of flow. Elision of this layer from the data analysis impoverishes the 
presentation of policy- relevant information. Current observation indicates non-linearity in 
flow rate with a doubling time of approximately six years, even at the small increases in 
average global temperature already experienced. It is therefore highly unlikely that flow rates 
could possibly decrease in the future. Current understanding of ice flow dynamics is 
incomplete, but indicates that flow rate is unlikely to be limited to a linear relationship with 
rise in average global temperature. Non- linear flow rates are expected to increase leading to 
potential instabilities in ice discharge. Implications for sea- level rise and for the de-salination 
of ocean surface in the arctic North Atlantic (with consequent implications for the behaviour 
of the Meridional Overturning Current) have not been made at this point. 

At the very end of the paper both draft and final versions make a further reference to ice flow 
dynamics, which tend to compensate for the earlier inadequacies. So the draft version reads: 
"The melting rate would increase if dynamical processes increase the rate of ice flow, as 
suggested by some recent observations". 

The final version concludes: "Dynamical processes related to ice flow not included in current 
models but suggested by recent observations could increase the vulnerability of the ice sheets 
to warming, increasing future sea- level rise." Even here, the reference to second derivative 
behaviour (increase in the rate of ice flow) is omitted and reduced to "increase the 
vulnerability to warming". 

It is perhaps significant that Lloyds of London have recently commissioned an independent 
group of specialists in ice- flow dynamics to advise them on the best current understanding of 
this critical area in the light of the conservative treatment offered by the IPCC. 


6. Extent of summer Arctic sea-ice 

In the section dealing with Direct Observation of Changes in Current Climate, both draft and 
final versions note that arctic sea ice has decreased in extent by some 2.7% per decade since 
1978. However the draft text also includes the comment: "The smallest extent of summer sea 
ice was observed in 2005. Average temperatures have been rising since the 1960s, and 2005 
was the warmest Arctic year." By providing only the flat decadal average, the final version 
removes all information about rate of change of extent of Artie sea ice which is embedded in 
the observational data. The acceleration of decrease in the extent of Arctic sea ice has 
implications for the acceleration of albedo- driven positive feedback, and also for the 
desalination of the surface water of the Arctic North Atlantic with consequences for the 
strength (and possible disruption) of the Meridional Overturning Current. The reduction of 
vectored information to absolute numbers is consistent throughout the final text, and removes 
all observation-based information about acceleration of climate change. 

There is further reference to decrease in the extent of Arctic sea ice in the last section of both 
draft and final versions, which deals with Projections of Future Changes in Climate. Textual 
comparison is again revealing: 

Draft version: "Sea ce shrinks both in the Arctic and Antarctic under all scenarios. This 
reduction is amplified by feedbacks in the Arctic where some models project sea ice to 
disappear for the A2 scenario by the latter part of the 21 st century." 

Final version: "Sea ice is projected to shrink in both the Arctic and Antarctic under all SRES 
scenarios. In some projections, Arctic late- summer sea ice disappears almost entirely by the 
latter part of the 21 st . Century." 

The phrase "This reduction is amplified by feedbacks in the Arctic" is deleted in the final 
version, consistently with the editorial tendency to elide all references to feedback dynamics 
and the acceleration of climate change, whether modelled or observed. 

Since the closure of the IPCC process to new information, current models have taken into 
account the observed acceleration of decrease in summer Arctic ice. Predicted date for first 
occurrence of zero sea ice at the North Pole has now been brought forward from 2080 to 
2040 with expected revision to 2030. Implications for albedo decrease, ocean heat uptake, 
desalination of the far North Atlantic, and increase in atmospheric water vapour, are all 
significant. All contribute to the interrelated and reinforcing effects of positive feedback that 
amplify radiative forcing and accelerate climate change. 

7. Sea-level rise 

Both draft and final texts report observed average rate of increase of average sea- level to be 
1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm. per year over 1961 to 2003, and note that it stood at 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm. 
per year between 1993 and 2003. Mode of presentation hides the fact that the rise was only 
1.3 mm per year in the first period, and more than doubled in the final decade. The draft text 
comments: "It is unclear whether this recent increase is due to an accelerating trend or 
variability on decadal timescales." This is modified in the final version to read: "Whether 
the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term 
trend is unclear." The implication of possible non-linearity raised in the draft is replaced by 
the possibility of an implied linear change in the final text. Apparently any reference to 
possible acceleration of climate change is consistently removed. 


8. Ocean Acidification 

Both draft and final versions draw attention to the fact and quantification of acidification of 
ocean surface water due to increase in concentration of atmospheric CO2. The draft text 
includes the phrase: "raising concerns for marine calcifying organisms". The phrase is 
omitted from the final version. Degrade in the population of calciferous marine plankton acts 
as a positive feedback, amplifying climate change by reducing the power of the natural 
carbon sink. 

9. Storm intensity increase 

It is noted in both versions that the number of tropical storms is not predicted to increase, 
though the intensity is expected to rise with larger peak wind speeds and more intense 
precipitation. The draft text notes that: "The reported increase in the proportion of very 
intense storms since 1970 is... much larger than simulated by current models". The final 
version modifies this to read: "The apparent increase in the proportion of very intense storms 
since 1970 is... much larger than simulated by current models..." It is hard to understand 
why, when scientists speak of "reported increase", government agents should change it to 
read "apparent increase". The modification introduces a significant element of doubt 
concerning the reporting, which lessens the weight to be given to the evidence. 

In similar vein when referring to expectation that storms at higher latitudes will move 
poleward, the draft text speaks of "more intense mid- latitude storms with associated 
damaging winds and extreme wave heights". The final version keeps the reference to 
poleward movement but elides all reference to increased intensity, wind damage or wave 

10. Treatment of carbon-cycle feedback 

Leading climate simulation models are increasingly including the dynamics of the carbon- 
cycle feedbacks, though they are still experiencing difficulty in modelling the methane cycle, 
cloud dynamics and water-vapour feedbacks. The appropriate paragraph from the draft text 
is worth quoting in full: 

"The long lifetime of atmospheric carbon dioxide implies climate change commitments that 
persist for centuries. Increases in global temperatures are expected to progressively reduce 
the efficiency of the ocean and biosphere to absorb anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. 
This positive feedback effect could lead to as much as 1.2°C of added warming by 2100 for 
higher SRES emission scenarios. Alternatively it reduces the total emissions consistent with 
a given carbon dioxide stabilization level, although there are still uncertainties due, for 
example, to limitations in the understanding of biophysical interactions and feedbacks." 

The equivalent paragraph in the final version reads: 

"Climate-carbon cycle coupling is expected to add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as the 
climate system warms, but the magnitude of this feedback is uncertain. This increases the 
uncertainty in the trajectory of carbon dioxide emissions required to achieve a particular 
stabilization level of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration..." 


Note firstly that the final version omits all reference to the new research on the longevity of 
atmospheric carbon dioxide which confirms the long- lasting impact of climate change. 
Suppression of consequences reduces motivation for intervention. 

The final version also omits all reference to the progressive degrade of the capacity of the 
ocean and biosphere to absorb anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. This "sink- degrade" 
feedback adds to the urgency of emissions reductions and is profoundly policy-relevant. 
Note, in addition, that the draft assertion that this amplifying feedback mechanism would add 
up to 1.2°C to average global warming by the end of the 21 st Century for higher SRES 
emission scenarios, is also omitted from the final version. 

The draft text highlights the implication of the sink-degrade feedback for the reduction in 
carbon dioxide emission levels to achieve any specific concentration target. The final text 
focuses not on the need for sharper emissions reductions, but on the increased level of 
uncertainty introduced by including the carbon-cycle feedback. Illustrations of the implied 
emissions reductions required to achieve concentration targets under different scenarios are 
then offered in the succeeding paragraphs. 

11. Conditions for climate stabilisation 

The last section of the draft text is introduced by an emboldened assertion that: "Current 
understanding of climate processes provides an important context for considering 
policy options that might lead to climate stabilization." 

The assertion is omitted from the final version. 

The draft wording is based on the underlying assumption that policy options should lead 
toward the goal of climate stabilization and should take into account the current 
understanding of climate processes in deciding on the policy options required to achieve that 
goal. Omission of the statement removes the science- driven goal from the policy-making 
domain. It also weakens the expectation that decision- makers should take account of current 
scientific understanding in the formulation of policy. The editorial stance is totally consistent 
with the comments made by Dr. Susan Solomon, the co-chair of Work Group 1, in the Paris 
press conference at which the final text of the Summary for Policy Makers was introduced. 
She was asked whether the Report increased the urgency with which the climate change 
agenda must now be addressed. In her reply she affirmed that: "It is not my role to 
communicate what should be done.... The IPCC is not trying to make policy- prescriptive 
statements, but policy- relevant statements." 

The generalised statement in the draft version: "Model results consistently show that if the 
concentration of all radiative forcing agents were to be stabilized, globally averaged 
temperatures would still increase", is modified and emboldened in the final text to read: 
"Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the 
timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gas 
concentrations were to be stabilized". 

In referring to "all radiative forcing agents" the draft text includes all factors that contribute 
to global warming, be they albedo, cloud dynamics, non- anthropogenic release of methane 
from organic store, water vapour feedbacks etc., in addition to the standard set of greenhouse 
gases. The final version introduces the word "anthropogenic" and then limits the radiative 


forcing agents to "greenhouse gas concentrations". The result is the elision of non- 
anthropogenic and non-greenhouse gas agents involved in driving radiative forcing. It is this 
set of factors that is most involved in feedback dynamics and the acceleration of global 

This section also demonstrates the most disturbingly incompetent analysis of the whole 
report. The draft version includes the comment: "Stabilization of radiative forcing is a 
prerequisite for climate stabilization." This incomplete and misleading level of analysis 
represents a major lacuna in the IPCC presentation of policy-relevant information. Even this 
analysis went too far for the governmental agents, and the sentence is omitted from the final 
text. The following notes are added for clarification: 

• Current national and international political negotiations are aimed at the stabilisation 
of greenhouse gas emissions. If achieved in full such a process would still lead to an 
accelerating increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. 

• If anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilised there would still 
be an accelerating increase in radiative forcing. 

• If radiative forcing (from all agents) were to be stabilised, there would still be 
constant increase in global heating. Climate change itself would not be stabilised. 

• Climate stabilisation requires that radiative forcing (from all agents) be reduced to 
zero and then sustained in near- zero equilibrium. 

• Stabilisation of climate within acceptable levels of dangerous climate change would 
require a period of negative radiative forcing before the final equilibrium was 

StaMisation of radiative forcing is a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for 
climate stabilisation. 

The Politico-Economic Repression of Climate Science 

Common understanding perceives the IPCC Report as "A study by the world's leading 
experts", "The work of several thousand climate experts". With so many scientists involved, 
each paragraph has been argued over and scrutinised intensely. Only points that were 
considered indisputable survived this process and made it to the final draft. The result is a 
document which is profoundly dependable albeit inevitably conservative. It is treated by 
policy- formulators and decision- makers alike as solid scientific ground on which strategy can 
confidently be based. 

There are, however, two distinct and mutually incompatible functions, bundled together in an 
uneasy alliance, at the heart of the IPCC. It is the structural conflict between them that 
underlies the editorial dynamics that have been highlighted in this study. 


Function 1: On the one hand, "The role of the IPCC is to assess on a comprehensive, 
objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information 
relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human- induced climate change, its 
potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation." It "scrupulously adheres to a 
high level of objectivity and credibility in all that it produces" and has established a globally 
recognised "ability to mobilize the best scientific talent that is available throughout the 
world". The sheer scale and competence of the scientific resources that have been brought 
together to address the most critical issue ever to face the human species, are utterly 
unprecedented in the history of scientific endeavour. The IPCC Report represents the 
culmination of this awesome process of assembly, analysis, scrutiny and integration. 

Function 2: Coupled with this scientific task is the intergovernmental control function of the 
Panel. The implications of anthropogenic climate change have been seen to pose a 
potentially massive threat to those powerful political and economic vested interests at 
national and international levels whose security and bottom line depend on the maintenance 
of the addiction to fossil energy. Strong denial of collateral damage to the environment is an 
inherent element of the addiction. Climate science confronts this addicted culture with the 
harsh realities, consequences and implications of its habit. In the name of the survival of 
humanity and of the planetary context on which our species depends, climate science raises 
the urgent imperative of a global detox programme. 

It is hardly surprising, therefore, that those elements of the international community whose 
profitability, lifestyle, economics and security are most at risk, have mobilised the most 
powerful defence against the diagnosis and treatment of the addiction. The damage limitation 
process has been one of containment, discreditation, raising of doubt, highlighting of conflict 
and uncertainty, selective suppression of information, and blocking access to power without 
regard to the consequences. The denial of anthropogenic climate change has been the most 
damaging deception ever perpetrated in the history of human civilisation. The decade and a 
half of resultant impotence and inactivity has lost us the window of opportunity to avoid 
dangerous climate change, made it virtually impossible to avoid catastrophic climate change, 
and brought us face to face with the looming possibility of a major global extinction event of 
cataclysmic proportions. During this period, the international record of political compromise 
and appeasement has precipitated an humanitarian disaster. 

From its inception the IPCC has been subject to the tension between these two incompatible 
drives. Its conflicted primary task involves both the mobilisation of best possible scientific 
engagement with the global "problematique", and also the containment and control of the 
scientific endeavour on behalf of those vested interests most threatened by its findings. After 
the publication of the Third Assessment Report in 2001 the fossil- fuel industry recognised 
that the scientific information presented by the IPCC posed a massive threat to its future 
profitability and steps were taken to gain control of its process and agenda. The leader of the 
Senate in the Washington administration went on record at this time to castigate climate 
change as "The greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people", a sentiment later 
echoed by the President himself. 

Political Controll of the IPCC Process 

Dr. Rajendra Pachauri replaced the unacceptable Dr Robert Watson as Chairman of the 
IPCC. Dr. Susan Solomon, a senior scientist of the Earth System Research Laboratory at 
NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) was appointed as co-chair of 
Work Group 1 dealing with the physical science basis. Several other leading authors and 


review editors were also replaced by staff acceptable to the Washington Administration. 
Constitutionally the developed country from which the Workgroup co- chair is drawn is 
responsible for hosting and support of the section. WG1 was therefore placed under the 
jurisdiction of NOAA. Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher was appointed Under- 
secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, a post which also carries the role of 
Administer of NOAA where he oversees the day to day functions and lays out its strategic 
and operational future. 

NOAA is not an independent academic institution, but is part of the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, and is "dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety" of the 
USA. NOAA personnel not only supported the scientific task of WG1, but a cadre of NOAA 
staff including Arun Kumar, deputy director of the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, also 
served as government reviewers of the final report. In a recently published survey NOAA 
scientists recorded a higher level of complaints of Government interference with their 
academic independence, right to publish, research agenda and funding, than any other 
institution in the USA. 

The constitution of the IPCC WG1 carries within its structure a conflict of interests which 
lays it open to the charge of collusion in the management of scientific analysis of climate 
change. It is hardly surprising that the resultant Summary for Policy Makers was 
immediately welcomed and affirmed as acceptable to the Washington Administration. Denial 
has now yielded on the issues of the reality of the occurrence of climate change and its 
attribution to anthropogenic causes. It has moved ground to the denial of amplifying 
feedback, acceleration of climate change, non-linearity in system behaviour and potential 
feedback-driven instability. 

The outcome is a document which lays a necessary but far from sufficient basis for the 
formulation of strategic policy. Despite the best efforts of the global scientific 
community, pursuit of goals based upon this Report may contribute to the sustained 
profitability of the hydro -carbon- based industries, but they do not get to first base in 
the task of preventing catastrophic climate change. 

David Wasdell 

Meridian Programme 
16 th February 2007 

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